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What Is Nail Fungus Laser Therapy?

Toenail fungus (or onychomycosis) is an increasingly common condition. Roughly 10% of the American population deal with it every day. The older you get, the more susceptible you are to the condition. To that end, around 50% of people aged 70 and above experience bouts of toenail fungus.

How does laser nail fungus treatment work?

Laser nail fungus treatment works by focusing light energy on the infected area, which creates heat and ultimately destroys the living fungi. There are different lasers on the market that utilize different strengths and frequencies of laser light, but in general, all work on the same principle.

What is the benefit of laser vs. other treatments?

The main benefit of using laser light to treat nail fungus is that the laser can target the fungus more precisely, while sparing the healthy tissue surrounding it. Some topical treatments can consist of harsh chemicals and be tough on the skin, while oral antifungals are known for being hard on the liver and can react with other medicines, so the precision of laser treatment is a positive for some patients.

How does the laser treatment work?

Quarkum recommends the use of a Q-Switched Nd:YAG laser, which is one of the most advanced dermatologic lasers currently available. In 3-10 billionths of a second, impulses of high power laser energy pass through the nail to the nail bed and nail growth area with typically no damage to the nail or surrounding skin. At the time of the procedure, no visible change is seen until the nail begins to grow out. In a few months, a more normal nail is expected to appear with complete regrowth of the nail taking up to 9-12 months.

What is the recovery period?

No post treatment pain has been reported. The patient may resume all normal activities immediately.

Is the procedure painful?

Most people do not feel any pain. Some patients may experience slight warmth or occasional snapping sensation during the procedure. If the patients have any pain during the procedure, the laser power can be decreased slightly to eliminate any pain. No anesthesia is needed.

How long does the procedure take?

The amount of time varies on the degree of involvement of the nails. Very thick nails are mechanically reduced to a more normal thickness with specialized equipment. The laser is then applied typically taking only a few minutes. Overall, a visit for consultation and treatment will usually take about 30 minutes.

What happens if the nail does not improve?

The nail is expected to improve with just one treatment. Clinical reports to date have been encouraging with most patients noticing significant improvement. As with all medical procedures, a 100% guarantee is not possible. In a randomized 3-12 month study of 100 subjects, significant nail plate clearance was observed in more than 95% of the subject cases with an mean clearance of greater then 56% of the (abnormal or affected) regions. Changing socks and shoes frequently and controlling excessive perspiration are helpful in preventing recurrence.

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